Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy

Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy cover

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Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy: The Harvard Medical School Guide to Healthy Eating, by Walter C. Willett, M.D.

When I was nineteen, I began following a macrobiotic diet. When I became a disciple of A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami the next year, I followed his vegetarian diet with lots of dairy, sugar, and spice for eight years. Then I returned to a regular American diet for many years. As I aged, I found I had to deal with various digestive problems and eliminate certain foods from my diet. Recently, some friends encouraged a raw food diet. I experimented with it briefly, but felt it was a bit extreme. Therefore, I turned to Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy hoping to find a more manageable solution to my dietary needs. I certainly did.
I was surprised to find that exercise and weight management form the basis of this program. I increased my walking and found that very helpful. I also now have a better idea of what is healthy food and what is not based on scientific study rather than the latest fad diet. I certainly feel healthier again since following Dr. Willett’s guidance.
Since our bodies are meant to please Radha-Krishna, it is good to keep them healthy. I heartily recommend this book to anyone who wants to follow a practical, satisfying way of eating that promotes good health. Review
Aimed at nothing less than totally restructuring the diets of Americans, Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy may well accomplish its goal. Dr. Walter C. Willett gets off to a roaring start by totally dismantling one of the largest icons in health today: the USDA Food Pyramid that we all learn in elementary school. He blames many of the pyramid’s recommendations–6 to 11 servings of carbohydrates, all fats used sparingly–for much of the current wave of obesity. At first this may read differently than any diet book, but Willett also makes a crucial, rarely mentioned point about this icon: “The thing to keep in mind about the USDA Pyramid is that it comes from the Department of Agriculture, the agency responsible for promoting American agriculture, not from the agencies established to monitor and protect our health.” It’s no wonder that dairy products and American-grown grains such as wheat and corn figure so prominently in the USDA’s recommendations.
Willett’s own simple pyramid has several benefits over the traditional format. His information is up-to-date, and you won’t find recommendations that come from special-interest groups. His ideas are nothing radical–if we eat more vegetables and complex carbohydrates (no, potatoes are not complex), emphasize healthy fats, and enjoy small amounts of a tremendous variety of food, we will be healthier. You’ll find some surprises as well, such as doubts about the overall benefits of soy (unless you’re willing to eat a pound and a half of tofu a day), and that nuts, with their “good” fat content, are a terrific snack.
Relying on research rather than anecdotes, this is a solidly written nutritional guide that will show you the real story behind how food is digested, from the glycemic index for carbs to the wisdom of adding a multivitamin to your diet. Willett combines research with matter-of-fact language and a no-nonsense tone that turns academic studies into easily understandable suggestions for living. –Jill Lightner –This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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